TAP study: Control of surgical abdominal pain in dogs

tan and white dog laying downStudy title: Evaluation of a novel technique to control surgical abdominal pain in dogs
Current Status: Active and enrolling
Principal Investigator: Alonso Guedes, DVM, MS, PhD, Diplomate ACVAA
Co-investigator: Martin Kennedy, DVM, Diplomate ACVAA
Contact: Dr. Kennedy: [email protected] or 612-625-5991 
Amber Winter, Research Study Technician Specialist: [email protected] or 612-624-1352

Study Purpose

The objective of this study is to evaluate whether transversus abdominal plane (TAP) blocks, a local anesthetic technique, can provide lasting pain relief in dogs following abdominal surgery, possibly without the need of opioids and other medications. A separate goal of the study is to evaluate whether a new formulation of local anesthetic (liposomal-encapsulated bupivacaine) will provide longer-acting relief than traditional bupivacaine when used for local anesthesia.

Eligible dogs

  • Adults, and at least 4 kg (8.8 pounds) in weight
  • Planning abdominal surgery at the Veterinary Medical Center
  • Owners not planning any changes during the week of the study (moving, vacation, new people or pets)

Excluded dogs

  • Elective spay surgery
  • Trauma surgeries (vehicular accident)
  • Other exclusions apply (contact us)

Study Summary

  • Screening visit (may be part of surgical planning visit), owner education on how to use the pain scale
  • Surgery day: dogs will be randomized to one of 3 groups: saline control, bupivacaine, or liposomal bupivacaine and given a TAP block while under anesthesia prior to surgery. All dogs will receive standard opioid-based pain medications during surgery.
  • During hospital stay, the dog’s pain is evaluated at regular intervals and additional pain medication given if needed
  • Dogs discharged and owners will assess pain at home twice/day for 5 days
  • Final recheck, collecting forms

Cost of the study

The costs of the TAP block are covered by the study. In addition, at the conclusion of the study, owners will be eligible for a $100 debit card.

To learn more or to enroll, please contact Amber Winter or Dr. Kennedy (above). 

Enrolled Owner Info